A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Cole’


Last week, Cole’s teacher celebrated her birthday. Typically, the head room parent spearheads an effort to get a card signed for the teacher. Considering that kindergarteners have 2.5 hours a day in class, I decided to send an email to the parents in Cole’s class encouraging everyone to MAKE a card for the fabulous Mrs. Kinder. I also told the parents that I’d buy some flowers or a plant for our children’s beloved teacher.

The afternoon class’s head room mom had emailed me about the birthday. She asked if we should go in on something together, or what our class was planning. I told her our plans. She said that their class was doing the same. Great!

Mrs. Kinder’s birthday was on Thursday. Friday, Cole came home with a thank you note typed up from the teacher. My jaw dropped. First, I will wholeheartedly admit that I am competitive and can be Type A. I like to win. I do. Second, this sealed the deal for me that the Mommy Wars are SO VERY REAL.

Mrs. Kinder’s note expressed her gratitude to both classes for showering her with attention. She thanked the parents and students for their cards and for the gifts. She listed the gifts. I knew what our class had given her. I thought that maybe some parents had gone all out. I felt a little sheepish that our class had *just* given her an orchid and balloon.

Over the long weekend I had some time to chat with a fellow parent. Her son is in the afternoon class, and we had a play date. She showed me the picture of the gifts that the afternoon class had given to Mrs. Kinder. Holy moly!!

Apparently the wife of the co-head room dad got her Pinterest on last week. They presented Mrs. Kinder with a basket of flowers….the flowers had the face of each one of the afternoon class’s students. She artfully arranged them, with pipe cleaners, foam grass, etc. In the basket, she included not one, not two, but three gift cards to Mrs. Kinder’s favorite stores. To top it off, she sent in gluten free, peanut/tree nut free cupcakes for the class to eat to celebrate.

The competitor in me was angry. I lost. I totally, unequivocally, lost this one. The little orchid, while a beautiful token of appreciation, could in no way, shape or form be as great as that. It isn’t sentimental. It isn’t personal. Dang!

This is how Mommy Wars are formed. It didn’t help that the mom with whom I was chatting was beaming and talking about how Mrs. Kinder said that the flower arrangement would be on her shelves when these kids are 5th graders. In Head-Room-Parent-Land, ‘dem is fighting words!!!!!

There are a lot of things I could do. I could scour Pinterest to find the perfect End of the Year extravaganza. I could whine. I could call in my troops of other competitive mommies and get something rolling. I could blog about the injustices of it all. But I won’t. Instead, I will admit that the other mom did a bang-up job on this birthday gift. She is clearly talented and spent loads of her free time on this one. Kudos to her.

I hope Cole’s teacher knows that our class is incredibly appreciative of her, and that we do wish her the happiest of birthdays.

Go Big or Go….crazy?!

Cole’s 5th birthday is on Saturday. Since December 26th, he has been talking about when he turns five on June twenty-eighth. He wanted to have a party. A Lego-Dude party. A Lego-Dude party with all of his people. 

As I planned the invites, I wondered if I needed to prune the invite list. He wanted his class to come. There were 11 other children in his class. He wanted the neighbor children he plays with to be there, too. Of course, he wanted his cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Considering that this is the last year we would be able to do a family/friend party, we figured why the heck not. Throwing caution to the wind, I invited them all…figuring that with it being the end of June, less than a week before the 4th of July, we’d have low turn out. I wanted Cole to have a great 5th birthday. We celebrated in style for both of his brothers’ 5th birthdays, so I didn’t want him to have anything less.

Less couldn’t be a more incorrect word. This party has exploded into ridiculousness. It is going to be epic. I just pray that it will be epic in terms of “proportions” and not in terms of “fail”. We have only received two definitive “no” replies. Two. Oh, my dear God, I am going to have 40+ people at my house on Saturday. I should be cleaning, shopping, prepping, etc. Instead?? I think I’m going to spend today in the corner in the fetal position.

As I sit in my fetal position, I am planning on doing every anti-rain dance I can think of, paying homage to mother nature and all of her glory, sending prayers to God up above, and whatever else comes to mind to keep the weather decent enough to have this party outside. As of today, the extended forecast calls for upper 80’s, high humidity, and the possibility of thunderstorms. Seriously, hold me.

The upside is that this is not my first rodeo. I have planned parties. I have run room parties. I have hatched a plan…. I’ll have enough parents and older kids around to help me do a “station” party. We will have a Lego-tower-building station, a design your goody bag station, and a water balloon toss station. Tate’s buddy from special needs soccer has his black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, and has offered to come show the kids how to break boards. He is great with kids…and the price is right–free. (Well, I’ll tip him very well, that’s for sure…)We’ll wrangle the cats, erm, kids, let them channel their inner-Ninjago’s, and have some fun. Finally, we’ll have an old-school whack-it-with-a-big-stick pinata filled with peanut/tree-nut free candy. This can work, right? Right?! Lie to me, if you must….

We’ll end the day with cake, ice cream and juice and each kid will get some pinata candy and a lego-mini-fig head pop to take home. (I’m sure I’ll end up on the Pinterest Fail blog with the marshmallow mini-fig head pops I’m going to try to whip up.)

I’ll post this week with updates. In the meantime, send good ju-ju, prayers, thoughts, our way. And if you’re in our neck of the woods, stop on by…at this point, the more the merrier!!! 

P.S. We also have a quite spot picked out for Tate where he can retreat to get away from the chaos and noise. My brother-in-law, Uncle J, is amazing with Tate, and I know he will be more than happy to help me out when it all becomes too much. Oh, and I have a quiet room planned for any other kiddos who just can’t do the party any more. You may find me there by the time it is all said and done…

I’m going to have some free time…

On Monday when I got home from running a few errands while the boys were at summer school, the answering machine (yes, we still have one of those) indicated that we had a message. I pressed play. 

“Hi, this is Mrs. Elementary School Principal, and I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about Cole’s Kindergarten screening. Please give me a call back at [principal’s office number] to discuss at your earliest convenience. Thank you!

I knew what it meant. In our district, if your child struggles with a certain percentage of the kindergarten screening questions, they qualify for extended day kindergarten. I had my suspicions about Cole. He is on target with math…but the alphabet and words, well, he really just doesn’t care. I have dug deep into my mommy bucket and tried numerous suggestions, but he just doesn’t care. He plays along for a bit, and then he tires of it and wrestles out of any learning activity. My heart sank, and a little pit formed in my stomach.

I called the principal and she was very pleasant. She said that his screening indicated that he was an “at risk” child in terms of reading and literacy. He also, apparently, had trouble following directions. Now, I know Cole…and he may have had a little trouble…but more likely, he just didn’t want to do the requested task, so, well, he didn’t. He is lagging with letter recognition, phonetic awareness, and ability to write letters. I know all of this, it was indicated on his preschool year end report. It doesn’t make it any easier.

I know that Cole is capable and intelligent. Cole’s interests currently lie in other areas. Letters, words, and reading on his own don’t carry much interest for him. He’d rather do a puzzle or put blocks together or create patterns. He would rather rough and tumble play with his brothers or play make-believe with his friends than sit and learn about the alphabet and which letter makes which sound.

Cole is the most intuitive person I have ever met. Seriously. The way he makes connections between concepts is almost frightening to me. He sees patterns that even I have trouble discerning. He is a puzzle master, a Lego genius. He can assemble sets that his brothers still struggle to build. He has a decent vocabulary, loves being read to, and can add and knows his numbers up to 30. 

Cole is also incredibly social. He can read social situations very well, he knows how to label emotions and feelings, and often expresses himself without trouble. He can be kind and caring, and he is assertive when he needs to be. 

This program will give him a boost to get him where he needs to be, even if it isn’t a straight, “typical” path. I am feeling torn, though. It’s a little demoralizing as a parent to hear for a third time that you kid isn’t quite up to snuff with his like-age peers. I know I should only worry about Cole and getting him what he needs, but I can’t help but let those familiar parenting insecurities creep in, and my inner-adolescent wonders what other parents must think of me. 

But, I know Cole will be okay. He’s very young for his class. He has a late June birthday (should have even been August). He has some growing to do, yet. I’ll just spend this summer working on his alphabet and increasing his phonics abilities..and hopefully get him to recognize some sight words. He will benefit from the increased exposure to literacy preparation and writing. And next school year, he will make progress and gains when he is immersed in this extended day program.

My other dilemma, of course, is wondering what I should do to fill all of that free time, come August! With Tate’s therapy, I know that I won’t be able to work full time, or really even part-time, yet, but hmm….I may need to check out some freelance opportunities…or get our house organized for once….or put some of those Pinterest ideas to work. Suggestions are welcome!




Side Trip


Cole thought he was Superman. He jumped “higher, higher, higher into the air” and went bam! on the edge of the coffee table.


I took him to Urgent Care once Hubz got home to watch the other 2 boys. Three lovely little stitches in his chinny, chin, chin…and a pediatrician appointment for next week. He got a green popsicle out of the deal, so he was, in his words, “all good”.


I sit in the kitchen and peer into the family room. Cole is curled up on his favorite piece of furniture–our bean bag chair. He is watching Disney Junior prior to settling in for the night. He’s chewing on his finger, which is a tell-tale sign that he’s worn out–ready for bed. He’s wearing some green pj’s with trucks on the front from Old Navy. They are cute preschooler pj’s..and I know that in another year, he will be “too cool” for these. But for tonight, as I think about my youngest child turning four, I treasure the “little” boy that he still is.

Four. My “baby” is four. I think of other markers of time in fours. Four minutes after his birth he was whisked away from the OR to the NICU. Four hours after his birth I got to visit him, grasping his tiny, slightly opaque, fingers in mine. Four days after his birth I had to leave the hospital- without him. My arms, my heart, my breasts aching for the baby that belonged with me. Four weeks after his birth he was finally home. We were adjusting to a new routine. A new family. Four months after his birth he was smiling, cooing, rolling, and interacting. He was developmentally ahead of where he was supposed to be. Four years after his birth he is vivacious, energetic, intelligent, and wise beyond his years. He is feisty and protective, caring and loving. 

I call to him. “Cole, it’s time for bed.” He protests with a whine. I sigh. I give him another minute. “Cole, please turn off the T.V. and use the potty. It’s time to go to bed.” He nods. He gets up from his bean bag chair, turns off the T.V., and runs into the kitchen. “Hold me, momma. Hold, me.” I pull him into my arms. I inhale his freshly washed little boy scent. I commit it to memory. I feel a lump form in my throat. I swallow it down. “Ok, baby-” “MOM! I’m a big boy!” “Yes, okay, big boy, it’s time for bed. When you wake up, you’re going to be four!” “Yay!! Yay!! It’s my birf-ba-day!” “Yes, sweetie, your birthday.”

He scrambles up the stairs. His limbs have grown a lot this year. The baby fat is no longer obvious on his arms and thighs. His knees don’t have the little dimples that they used to. He laughs. A big, fully belly laugh. He uses the potty. All by himself. Washes his hands. Again, by himself. He asks for a story before bed. I oblige, as usual.

He chooses IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. Oh, how I enjoy this one. I read it, and he analyzes every page. He tells me his observations…laughing at the mouse sweeping the entire house, and remarking how the boy has to pick up after the messy mouse. He smiles at the end when the mouse gets his second cookie. I think he’s making a mental note. He doesn’t miss a beat, this one. Cole is clever. He is quick to pick up information. And it is sometimes used against me.

“Ok, ready for bed?”

“We need to sing “Twinkle”. ” I start to sing the song. I have sung that song to him since his days in the NICU. I would sing it when I would leave him each night and head home. I would sing it as he nursed to sleep, milk dribbling from his lips as he drifted to dreamland. I sang it to him as I rocked his toddler self after we would read stories together. And now, now we sing it together in his bed. His sweet little voice in time with mine. 

I look at his face. He looks more and more like a boy these days–there really is not any “baby” in there. His features are maturing. His eyes look a bit older. He doesn’t scrunch his nose as much as he used to. His cheeks have thinned out. His hair is a little less blonde.

I look at his fingers. They aren’t nearly as pudgy as they used to be. Those “baby” hands now have knuckles. His fingers thinned out. He has a strong grasp, and when he grabs my hand, I can’t envelop his into mine as much as I used to.

He still makes pronunciation errors. They are typical of his age, and endearing. Soon, those will be gone. His “L’s” will be “L” and not “W’s”. His “R’s” will be stronger and complete. He won’t call our van a “ban” or the library the “Why-bwar-ee”. Brown will not be “chocolate” and spaghetti won’t be “basketti”. I smile as he sings, “Twinkle, Twinkle, wittle stahh”.

We wrap up our song. He asks for another round. I am happy to do so. For some reason, putting him to bed means that we’re closing another chapter. It’s the last time I will put a three-year-old to bed in my house. Or, well, the last time I will put one of my OWN three-year-olds to bed in my house. I feel the lump rise into my throat again. It’s harder this time, but I swallow it down. “OK, sweetie. Time for bed. I love you.”

“Wuv you.”

“Sweet dreams.” (Sweet dweams, he echos back.)
“See you in the morning.” (See you in da morning. Wuv you.)

We do this about 3 more times, and then I close the door…but not before he asks if it’s REALLY his birthday tomorrow. I assure him that tomorrow is his birthday. He lays down on his pillow, and thanks me for leaving his light on low on the dimmer. “It makes me feel not scarwed, Momma.” I smile, and shut the door. We shout good night one more time.

I walk across the hall and tuck Tate into bed. We read a story, and I kiss him good night. I try a similar exchange, as I do every night. “I love you.”

“Mmm, hmm.”

“Sweet dreams.” (Night, Mommy.)

“See you in the morning.” (Mmm, hmm. Goodnight, Mommy.)

I head downstairs. I hear Tate’s door creak open. Bedtime is always rough when Hubz and Jake aren’t around. (They are at a 3-day overnight camp for Webelo Scouts.) I hear Cole shout out, “Tate, it’s bedtime. Go to sleep!” Tate shushes him. I call up that it is time for bed. Tate sits on the stairs and scripts. His younger, yet sometimes seemingly older, brother shouts out, “C’mon, Tate. Go to bed. It’s nighttime.” Tate stomps to his room, and shuts the door. It’s quiet.

I come back to the kitchen. I turn on my computer and start to type. As I start to write about Cole and his birthday, the lump forms in my throat. I let it sit there. I let the tears well up in my eyes. A small sob escapes. And I allow myself a few minutes of nostalgic tears. My “baby” is turning four. Four. We are almost done with the preschool years. Almost. One more year until all of my children are “school age”. I laugh through my tears. If I’m this big of a mess at his fourth birthday, what will five do to me?!?! I hear my mom’s voice…”Lisa Anne…” I smile as I watch my tears dance in the light. And I start to pound away on the keyboard.

Happy Fourth Birthday to my mischievous, clever, caring, loyal Cole. You have proven time and again that you are wise and capable beyond your years. I love you and cannot wait for the adventures that this next year holds.

Cole- 1 day old

Cole- 1 day old


Cole, a little tuckered out from excitement about his birthday party

Cole, a little tuckered out from excitement about his birthday party



This weekend we had some good times. We had a few rough times, too…but there were definitely some moments that I want to hold onto for just *a little* while longer.

-Like when Tate caught my eye on Saturday morning when I came downstairs to get the coffee going. His arms were outstretched, his smile wide, and his eyes glistening. “MOM-EEE!” Oh, I want to hold onto that.

-Or when Cole crawled into my lap when he came downstairs that day. He snuggled into my chest and twisted my hair between his fingers. He let me breathe him in…I inhaled every bit of his little boy sweetness that I could. I know our time like this is fleeting. Sooner than I would like, my baby is going to be too big, too heavy, too cool, to sit on my lap like that.

-Jake turned off the television–unprompted–so he could come talk to me. I almost fell over. While we talked, Jake sketched some creations into his drawing pad. He created creatures that were breathtaking and amusing. They were majestic and minute. They were so him. The best part was how he’d excitedly explain what each one was–and what parts of real animals he used to create them. (Note to self: let’s work on fractions with the tutor…one creation was, in Jake’s words, “1/2 rhino, 1/2 bearded lizard, 1/2 monkey, and 1/2 giraffe”. I told him they were 1/4’s…he looked at me like *I* was the one with 4 heads…)

-Tate initiated pretend play. It took until age 6, but my kiddo is finally grasping the concept of pretend play. Saturday morning we were playing drive-thru window (I don’t know WHERE he got that concept from….*whistles*). I asked for a sandwich. He was only willing to sell me a stinky foot sandwich. When I pretended to be completely grossed out, he squealed with laughter, and then offered me a butt sandwich. When I said no to that, he said he could give me a knee sandwich, but that was all they had. I obliged, and gobbled down that knee sandwich…as soon as I gave him my money–which is all a part of the play. (Oh, and by money, I mean I have to give him my credit card, and he asks if I want a receipt…again, no idea where he comes up with these things!! wink, wink)

-Jake was trying to convince me to get him a pet otter. I had to decline. He then asked if he could get a pet manatee or dugong (a critter similar to a manatee, but with a slightly different tail…). I said no..and he retorted with, “right, we don’t have a pool”. I nodded and I said I didn’t want to clean up their poop, either. (They are called “the elephant of the seas”, people, so, heck no! Oh, and the whole fact that our climate is definitely NOT their natural habitat.) This evolved into a bickerment about whether animals poop. At 5:30 in the morning. I wasn’t convincing him….so we looked it up online. I won that one. He even admitted I was right. (Hence, I have to document this because we are *this close* to the time in our mother-son relationship where I will know ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY NOTHING. That’s gonna be…not awesome.)

-The 3 boys helped Hubz with yard work yesterday while I was at the store. Like actually pulled weeds and picked up trimmings, and the like. I love that they are able to spend time with Hubz…and that he can teach them some very practical home-keeping tips in the process.

-I took the boys for a walk around the block last night. Well, they rode bikes while I was forced to run pathetically after them. Tate shrieked with delight as he felt the wind blast him in the face, rush through his hair, and felt the vibration of the ground beneath him. That joy. That unbridled joy. I love that something so simple makes him so very happy.

-Jake used the word, “wiener” to refer to his, um, yeah….. I was amused, but had to pretend to be appalled. (I always worry about him being immature and unable to relate to peers. That right there shows me he “gets” a lot of the convo that is going on…much to my delight and chagrin. I asked him to try to not use that one in front of his brothers…I really don’t need Tate scripting that. It will happen in its own time, and I don’t need him to expedite that.

-The three boys sat in the family room and watched SpongeBob together last night. As they watched it, they actually TALKED ABOUT THE SHOW together. Even Tate. And then they simultaneously burst into laughter because there was a potty joke. They shared their gummy bears, gummy worms, and sour patch watermelon candy together…and it was nice to see something just so….typical.

So, lots of little moments. Moments that, together, add up to some great memories…and help me get past the not-so-awesome moments like bickering, social difficulties, frustrations, attention issues, and so forth.

Mostly Wordless Wednesday-Spring Version


Lacrosse has started again. Jake is in white–the third from the right. It has been encouraging to watch him blossom on the field this year.


With our late spring weather, Cole and I have taken advantage of our time together to visit the parks around our neighborhood. He loves shuffling along the woodchips to make paths.


Tate has started playing with the hose. If we let him, and if we could afford it, he’d be out there all day with the hose, a few bricks, and some other water toys.


Yesterday was fabulous. I decided to get some color on my pasty-white skin. That color was pink, but at least it was a start.


Editor’s note: I meant to publish this sooner, but an unfortunate tummy bug took control of my life for a few days….enjoy.

Shortly after Tate was born, there was a commercial for ESPN with the Manning brothers. All five of the Mannings were touring the offices. Archie and Olivia Manning are in the lead, very interested in the tour. Cooper Manning, the eldest, is right behind his parents. Lagging behind, Peyton and Eli are kicking and jabbing at each other…like brothers tend to do. Hubz and I watched the commercial, amused, and joked about how that would be our boys some day.

Of course, that is before the delays were painfully apparent. Before autism and ADHD diagnoses. And before we realized how different our family dynamic would be. It’s not wrong or bad…just different. Admittedly, after we found out about Tate’s autism, I mourned that he and his brothers would not have a “typical” sibling relationship–complete with rivalry, bickering, and secret moments that only they would “get”. I was stuck on that whole “social isolation” component of autism. It made my heart ache.

Luckily, our boys have always had a pretty good relationship. Different, yes, but they have always had some connection. As Tate has made gains over the past two years, the bonds have only strengthened. So, while our boys do have a slightly a-typical relationship with each other, there is so much typical in there that it makes me smile.

For instance,Tate and Jake giggle and chat in their room each morning before they emerge. They have inside jokes. They share glances and giggle. Yes. I said it. They share glances!!

Tate is a stereotypical middle child. He loves to instigate, prod, and tease. He also tends to feel, quite strongly, when one of his brothers is sad or hurt. He is usually the first to ask about their issue/problem, and is often quick to offer a tap on the shoulder. This tap is a huge thing for Tate…and it’s his way of connecting.

Tate and Cole share banter…a lot. They bicker, they shove, and they jab at each other. And often, they end up giggling together afterwards. As much as it does annoy me, I admit that it  is somewhat comforting, as well. I love that my boys, even with all of their “shtuff”, connect. That connection is going to be important as they get older…

Last Saturday Tate had a soccer game. It was his first one of the spring season. As we walked back to the car afterwards, Jake put his arm around Tate’s shoulder. They were sharing a moment..and then it became a headlock, with Tate shrieking with laughter. He kicked his leg at Jake, playfully. Jake playfully shoved him aside. Hubz and I looked at each other…and knew, just knew….it was going to be all right. 

Mostly Wordless Wednesday


Cole took advantage of the 6+ inches of wet snow we’ve gotten and made our family out of snow. Love that kid…..


Two weeks ago I got a nasty cold. I slept horribly while my body battled the virus that tried to set up shop.

In that time all 4 of the remaining family members have battled a virus, as well. Cole was hacking while I writhed in pain from a sinus headache. Jake and Tate had sniffles and runny noses. Hubz got a cold and sinus infection.

I haven’t slept well in two weeks. I am run down. Running on caffeine and the little energy boost that my 30 minutes a day on the treadmill gives me. I don’t have energy for more than that.

Last night Cole was up crying several times. At dinner, I noticed that he was playing with his ear a lot. When he was up crying at 10:15, 1:30, and 2:45, I asked what the problem was…if anything hurt. “My cheek.”

That was new…hmm. In my sleep-deprived state I rubbed his cheek and applied slight pressure to his forehead. He dozed off. This morning he said his cheek felt better. I bought some children’s acetaminophen just in case. We got home and were sitting on the couch.

He laid his head in my lap. I played with his hair, and brushed it from covering his ear. There it was…the telltale sign of a burst eardrum. Crap!! Well, no wonder it didn’t hurt. Ugh.

After Tate’s speech therapy at 2, we are rushing off to the pediatrician before they close for the day. I had to bribe Cole with a Transformer. He does NOT want to go. But we need to…Cruz he’s got an infection….and momma needs some sleep.

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